Predicting NFL roster cuts: A.J. Jenkins, Fred Jackson are surprise candidates

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Every year there are a few surprising roster cuts made in the preseason. Let's look at five potential candidates for 2013.

The first NFL roster cuts are due in about two weeks, when teams have to trim their rosters down to 75 players. There usually aren't too many surprises in that round of cuts--that doesn't happen until the end of preseason, when the final 53-man rosters have to be decided. Still as teams face either bloated positions, bad contracts or the presence of a breakout young player, some names will inevitably shock us as they do every year.

Here are five potential roster cuts that could surprise people for the 2013 season:

WR A.J. Jenkins, San Francisco 49ers

Teams don't normally give up on a first-round pick after just one season, but Jenkins couldn't have had a worse start to his NFL career. He was active for all of three games last season, not recording a single reception. The 49ers are giving him every chance to step up in training camp, but he's been outplayed by Marlon Moore and fumbled away his only catch in the first preseason game. His teammates still believe he can turn it around, but the 49ers may pull the plug on this experiment sooner than later.

WR Robert Meachem, San Diego Chargers

One of former GM A.J. Smith's last mistakes, Meachem was given a four year deal with $14 million guaranteed to put up 14 catches for 207 yards in 2012. Now he's fallen all the way to fifth on the depth chart, is due $5 million and there are reports that his body is already broken down at 28 years old. Injuries to Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd might be the only thing keeping him on the roster in September.

RB Montario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns

Hardesty did just fine as Trent Richardson's backup last season, but he missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and has since been displaced by Dion Lewis on the depth chart. His few healthy practices didn't go much better, injuring his thumb on a direct snap. Hardesty and Lewis might be battling for one roster spot.

RB Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals

The star-struck Williams just cannot catch a break. He missed his entire rookie season with a torn patellar tendon, and played just five games in 2012 before being shut down with a shoulder injury. Now he's missing preseason games with a sore knee while Rashard Mendenhall, Stepfan Taylor and Alfonso Smith stake their roster claims. Williams was a favorite of old coach Ken Whisenhunt, but new boss Bruce Arians is openly frustrated with his inability to stay healthy.

RB Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills

Now that C.J. Spiller is entrenched as the starter, Jackson may not have much left to offer at 32 years old and coming off multiple knee surgeries. He's also due $2.15 million this season and coach Doug Marrone doesn't seem to have a clear idea how to use him. It's possible the Bills decide to go with the cheaper Tashard Choice to spell Spiller.

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